The person responsible for the policy is Nick Melville and it will be reviewed at least annually.
We are committed to providing a high quality legal service to all our clients. When something goes wrong we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to improve our standards.
If you have a complaint, contact us with the details. You can either do this by telephone, letter or e-mail. The important thing is that if you have a problem with our service you contact us.
As a criminal practice clients complaints are more likely to be raised in relation to the outcome of a case and the sentence imposed as opposed to our service. We pride ourselves on providing the best service possible and acting in the best interest of the client at all times. We ensure that our clients are always aware of the potential outcome of a case and explain the sentencing guidelines thoroughly. However, the sentencing process is a matter for the Courts. If we believe that a sentence imposed is manifestly excessive we will advise that it may be capable of appeal.
Therefore, any issue raised in relation to the outcome of a case and the sentence imposed as opposed to our service will normally not be considered a complaint and is entirely at the discretion of the complaints handler. As a result it is essential that the complaints handler establishes the reasoning behind a client complaint before it is recorded in our complaints register.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT?
1. We will send you a letter acknowledging your complaint and we may if necessary ask you to confirm or explain the details set out. We will also let you know the name of the person who will be dealing with your complaint. You can expect to receive our letter within 2 days of us receiving your complaint.
2. We will open a separate file for your complaint.
3. We will then start to investigate your complaint. This will normally involve the following steps;
i. We will pass your complaint to Nick Melville, our Complaints Handler.
ii. He will liaise with the member of staff who acted for you to provide the relevant papers and to respond to the issues that you have raised.
iii. Nick Melville will then contact you to discuss how he intends to resolve the complaint. If it is possible to resolve the complaint verbally it will be done so over the telephone. If not he will arrange an appointment to see you dependent upon the nature of the complaint.
iv. Nick Melville will ask for the file to enable him to familiarise himself with the papers and will then discuss the action to be taken with the fee earner or other parties involved before responding to or meeting you.
v. The matter will then be discussed with you, various solutions offered and hopefully the complaint will be resolved at this stage. If not resolved informally with you at this stage we will enter your complaint in our complaints register. Unless there are unexpected circumstances (holidays, sickness etc.) we would hope that this process, as set out above, can be dealt with within 5 to 10 days. If you are still not satisfied as to the outcome you should contact us again. We will then arrange to review our decision. This will happen in one of the following ways:
a) Another Director of the firm will review the decision made within 10 days.
b) We may ask our local Law Society or another local firm of solicitors, if appropriate, to review your complaint within 5 days. We will let you know how long this process will take.
c) We may, if appropriate, invite you to agree to independent mediation within 5 days. We will let you know how long this process will take.
4. We will let you know the result of the review within 5 days of the end of the review. At this time we will write to you confirming our final position and your complaint and explaining our reasons. If you are still not satisfied you can contact the Legal Ombudsman about your complaint as follows:-
PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ (Telephone Number 0300 555 0333) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ordinarily, a complaint should be made to the Legal Ombudsman within 6 months from receiving a written response to the complaint from us or within 6 years from the date of act/omission or 3 years from when a Complainant should have known about the complaint.